Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Even More Conversation about Writers’ Groups . . .


Writers' Groups This discussion began on November 14th, and continued on Nov. 16th, and 19th

We’ve covered quite a bit of ground in those past posts…

And, there’s quite a bit more to cover today.

Our first commenter is from the U.S.A. and is a former journalist and award-winning author who I’ve spent time with in a virtual world:

“I’ve belonged to many writer groups in the past and my experience has been varied. Some have turned out to be ego clubs existing only to tell each other how wonderful our work is. Those are my least favorite. Some have turned out to be ridiculously critical to the point where arguing about specific details kills the creative aspect and the group consensus is that everything is always terrible. I like those better, but not by much. I’ve gone to writer groups that get very complicated with emails going back and forth and critique schedules. Those are good for me but they take a commitment.

“Now I have an informal writers group. I join associations in my genre (my favorite to date is Horror Writers Association) and we organically team up to critique, review and support each other. Once a year we meet up face to face at Stokercon where old friendships are renewed, new friendships forged, and a whole lot of honing our craft happens. My writers group has taken the monchu path, as in they are people I choose because we inspire and edify each other.”

This first comment reminds me of two links from past posts in this series, about elements of a successful writers’ group and hidden dangers of writers’ groups…

Two things that stand out for me in this comment are the “organic” nature of her current writers’ group, which I take as meaning they naturally and easily formed the group; and, the fact that they inspire and edify each other…

The next comment is from a regular contributor, an accomplished author from Australia, and is directed at the last commenter they were both in the virtual world I mentioned… ) :-)

“I have often tried to get my writers’ group to meet in a virtual world, mainly when a member may have been too ill to travel… But, it has never come about. The folks in my group often travelled very long distances to keep up and attend the group. I have always thought that a virtual meeting may be the solution.”

Would that our Australian friend could accomplish that goal; but, I’ve talked to her about this and some of her fellow group members seem quite resistant to stepping into a new environment; yet, being in a virtual world certainly opens up the geographical distance that a writers’ group can span…

Our final commenter is from Denmark and is an author, poet, editor, photographer, and blogger who happens to be one of the admins in an online group that I recently joined. Her first sentence refers to a statement from a past post:something that seems to me to be essential for writers’ group participants: using questions to hone in on the writer’s intentions before critiquing the writing, whether or not the work is ‘good’ or ‘bad’“:

“Your point about intentions is so true. My group asks for your goals with the piece and for the type of feedback you’re looking for at the time. While sometimes we might stray from that in what we give, it does help us focus our feedback and moderate it.

“When looking for peer review, it helps to have multiple members at a similar skill and goal level to yours, however, we’re not always good at assessing that ourselves. Some people underestimate their skills and others are blind to their own flaws.

“I’ve been in several groups in the past and my initial critique experience comes from college. I made my first professional sale yesterday and I owe it to my online writing family. They’ve glued me back together when I’ve gone to pieces and pushed me to improve my writing and editing skills constantly. They challenge what I think I know about writing and bring out the best in my work.

“I think writing group choice is often very personal and depends on your needs and expectations. An always-someone-there online group works well for me. I can stick my nose in when I need a break, a kick in the rear, a hug, or a brainstorm buddy. Helping others brainstorm can help me get excited about a story of my own or kick off a new idea for a story or exercise.”

Congratulations to her for that first sale; and, appreciation for such an instructive comment to wrap-up this portion of our discussion… However, I must do a pull-quote about what a writers’ group can do:

“They’ve glued me back together when I’ve gone to pieces and pushed me to improve my writing and editing skills constantly. They challenge what I think I know about writing and bring out the best in my work.”

So

Are you in a writers’ group…?

What do you most enjoy about your group…?

Or, do you think you need to join a writers’ group…?

Or, are you sure a writers’ group would never fit your needs…?

Have you formed or are you about to form a group…?

What do you think is most important for a successful writers’ group…?

All it takes is one reader comment to continue this conversation :-)
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If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
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Our Blog Conversations are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays—the rest of the week, I share valuable posts from other blogs
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
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